Your pup or bouncy young kitten will one day be a creaky old gent or lady. And of course, you’ll be there with them, helping them over stiles and having a giggle at their loud cat-snoring as they lie dreaming by the fire. But many dogs and cats aren’t this lucky.
Due to illness, the death of elderly owners, new puppies, kittens or babies in the home, or simply a change in family circumstances, a lot of oldies are deprived of their retirement and placed in the bewildering environment of kennels, where no matter how excellent the care, the ageing process accelerates rapidly.
Elderly dogs and cats are some of the most overlooked residents in rescue centres today. People are often understandably looking for the excitement and malleability of a new puppy or kitten, rather than an old dodger, who shuffles around and is set in their ways. But what they don’t realise is how much an oldie can truly enrich their lives for the better, bringing character and love to a home. The only thing to be aware when rehoming oldies is that if you have young children, old dogs and cats can find this frightening and unsettling, and may not be the best match for you. However, older children and teenagers are compatible in most cases.
Oldies are also often used to home life and are already trained.
With an older pet, the day to day commitment to them is as huge as with a young pet, but the time-frame is likely to be shorter, which in the nicest way possible, means that you are not committed for the next 20 years, as is the case when buying a new kitten.
Whilst this will be painful, what a wonderful thing it is to give an old dog or cat his or her last few years in blissful comfort, love and tartan bedding!
They often don’t need as much exercise as a young animals, due to creaking bones, (although this depends completely on breed and temperament.)
Insurance is not impossible either. Marks and Spencer, More Than, Sainsbury and Pet Plan will insure oldies and many rescues will give you a 6-week free insurance policy with any animal you adopt from them, which you can then simply continue.
We've had many oldies find great homes, including Kye who was adopted last year. He was 15 years old when he came in with 2 younger collies. Yet he got adopted first! To look at him, you would never have guessed his age.
Here at the centre we have Snoop, a 10 year old staffy cross. Or we have Alfie and Monty, a couple of older westies who are about 10 aswell. They are all lovely dogs who would benefit from someone being with them most of the day. Snoop for example just sleeps most of the time given half a chance. Alfie and Monty just want a nice family with slightly older children to dote on them.
It seems that the older the animal gets, the longer they are in a rehoming centre, when really it’s these animals that should be rehomed sooner so they can see out their days stress free and in comfort.